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Research Administration Crisis Manager, Solution Pioneer

Solving The Problem

Academic Medical Centers, University hospitals and professional staffing firms are facing an unprecedented shortage of qualified staff to manage sponsored research portfolios. That, combined with prolonged vacancies and an increase in funding has led to a crisis, where neglected grant accounts are in dire need of clean-up to be compliant. With over 2 decades of experience in cradle to grave grants management, compliance, financial analysis and crisis management, I help organizations clean-up their grant portfolios to be audit ready. I work directly with organizations, and also have collaborated on projects with large firms who find their in-house resources tapped out. My aggressive, 360-degree approach to grant reconciliation and clean-up is effective, efficient, and sets organizations up to sustain systems and maintain compliance in the future. It’s never too late to start! 


The issue.

Why are so many organizations feeling the mounting pressure of research accounting and falling behind? Why does it feel like everyone is always in reaction mode; constantly putting out fires and jumping from one crisis to the next? Survey results show that overall, research administrators are burnt out! Of those surveyed, an overwhelming majority feel the workloads are unsustainable, and clean-up feels like an insurmountable task. Hiring experienced consultants can help bring portfolios into compliance and get your staff on the right track for sustained success. 

By the numbers, what RAs have to say


Bring order to the chaos

There are very few problems that don’t have solutions, but untangling prolonged financial neglect requires skill and deep experience. Specialized consultants, like me, take emotion out of the equation and focus on solving the problem. I will help your staff get caught up, and help build infrastructure and hygienic business processes that support staying caught up.

Keep reading to see how we can help get you from where you are now, to where you need to be!

Grants Crisis Management

I often joke that research accounting is accounting, in 3D. Those familiar with grant accounting know that nothing is ever as it seems. Every change when cleaning up an account has a cascading impact on other accounts. Resolving a research financial crisis means looking at the big picture, while understanding how the granular details fit into that picture. It requires a knowledge of how, when and where every transaction connects to another. I excel at seeing the complexities, and understanding the actions needed to bring even the most catastrophic accounts into pristine, audit ready condition. I have decades of experience in account clean-up and it has become a real passion of mine!

In addition to finding problems, I have experience in multiple finance systems such as Peoplesoft, Banner and Workday. I have experience doing comp and non comp journal entries, updating salary and effort reporting, rate negotiation and PMS/FFR reconciliation to the general ledger. Grant clean-up isn’t just about moving expenses around where money is available, it’s about making sure expenses follow the work, and are reallocated following sponsor guidelines for expending research dollars. Don’t let your clean-up effort turn into a another mess by trying to move through this process in a hurry!

Process Streamlining & Improvement

No one ever wants to be in a situation where grants have to be cleaned up. The ideal state is proactively managing expenses so accounts are compliant from day 1 till the end. But, that’s not the reality in our industry. In doing deep dive clean-ups, I have the unique opportunity to see the business processes and inefficiencies that lead to suboptimal grants management. I take what I learn in the clean-up phase to empower clients to set up best practices, procedures and SOPs to be in the driver’s seat of their research accounting.

Training & Education

This is a high burn out job. If you find your staff is lethargic, unmotivated or unproductive, I can inject new energy and enthusiasm so you have a more productive and happy workforce. Over the past 20 years working in Research administration, I have had the pleasure of training dozens of RAs at various stages in their careers be more deliberate, and in control of their portfolios. I have run a number of pipeline programs to train inexperienced candidates with transferable skills understand the RA role with a rigorous curriculum covering both per and post award. Many of my former students have gone on to senior roles within academia. I have also taught at NCURA and smaller intimate trainings on a variety of topics impacting our field. My goal in every training is to excite my audience about the work, inspire them to strive for excellence in their daily tasks, and provide real world tools and resources to help them achieve mastery over their accounts.


Straight from the Source

Saira is a charismatic leader that has a proven track record of success in multiple disciplines. She empowers teams to achieve excellence and her “can-do” attitude is a differentiator.

Farah Borges

Vice President, Operations

I have found Saira to be unfalteringly pleasant and enthusiastic. She has an uncanny talent for being able to dissect large, complex problems and provide workable solutions. In our time working together she has helped to resolve issues that had been at a stalemate for months. Her approach to problem resolution is a breath of fresh air. Her knowledge seems to span the continuum of research. I would wholeheartedly work with Saira again and hope that our paths cross in the future as I’ve found her to be an excellent colleague.

Marina Rodriguez
Executive Director Research Administration,Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Saira brings together a skill set that includes attention to detail, technical knowledge, the ability to manage people, and an incredibly strong work ethic. These attributes are matched by an astute political sense. She excels at everything takes on and will be an asset to whichever organization she joins.

Randy Mason

Former VP Research Administration

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